Samuel L. Jackson as Special Agent Derrick Vann
Eugene Levy as Andy Fidler
Luke Goss as Joey
Andy Fidler (Eugene Levy) is a dental supply salesman from Wisconsin who picks the wrong day and the wrong diner in which to have lunch and read a newspaper. He is quickly misidentified as an international arms dealer trying to buy recently stolen weapons, which brings him into the path of Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson), the hard-nosed ATF agent who has been tracking the stolen guns and will do anything – including forcing Andy to go along with the charade – in order to get them back.
The mismatched buddy movie has been done a hundred times, and The Man plays out just like every other permutation of the story has; but Levy’s comic timing and Jackson’s practiced Glare provide a decent amount of entertainment.
Films like The Man work entirely on the strength of the leads and their chemistry. Levy and Jackson both play characters they’ve become very familiar with – Levy as the earnest and befuddled everyman just trying to get along and Jackson as the angry misanthrope who just wants to do his job and not be bothered – and they slip back into them with ease. They work well together on screen and do solid, if uninspired work.
Luke Goss gets the thankless job of being the slightly menacing villain these films require who is always competent enough to get the job done and be somewhat dangerous, but just incompetent enough to mistake a dental supply salesman for an arms dealer. Goss does what he can but there’s not much he can do; while Levy and Jackson get to indulge in broad situational comedy, everyone else is forced to play the straight man.
It’s not the best version of this particular type of comedy ever made, but it’s not bad and often enough fairly entertaining.
The Man is rated PG-13 for language, rude dialogue and some violence.